Murdering Mary SueMurdering Mary SueMurdering Mary Sue7 years ago in Academic Essays More Like This
Every aspiring writer has met her at least once, whether in his own works or in those of others. The alluring temptation of a perfect character taunts the author from one side while his muse urges him to keep writing from the other. Who wouldn't love her? She's the most beautiful, talented, fantastic woman in the universe, with not a flaw in sight. Every woman wants to be her; every man wants to marry her, so why would anyone want to kill her? Who would want to murder Mary Sue?
I would. I and many greater authors have been working hard to keep this succubus in her proper place: the trash can. Mary Sue is one of the worst enemies of good fiction, second only to poor spelling and grammar. And the seductress tempts even the most cautious writer. Her many disguises can make her difficult to spot, allowing her to weave her way into every plot twist and turn, slowly destroying the author's work. By the time shes found, she may have done so much damage that the
An Essay on Naming CharactersWhat's In a Name?An Essay on Naming Characters9 years ago in Academic Essays More Like This
An Essay on Naming Characters
By Kate Logan
When it comes to character creation, be it for a story or an illustration, choosing the proper name for a character is vital. All too often do I see characters with poorly thought-out names: the chivalrous knight Darren Starhawk; the sweet, innocent Lady Elvira; or the rough-and-tumble brawler Poindexter. On their own, these names are fine (even Starhawk, if you're going for a sci-fi flare), but they simply don't work with the characters they are describing. No one is going to take poor old Poindexter seriously, no matter how big his muscles are. To remedy this catastrophe, here are a few tips and guidelines when naming characters.
First, a little game. Below is a list of several of my characters and a brief description of each, all mixed up and out of order. Try to correctly match the name to the character description. The answers are at the end of this essay (no peeking!).
1. Senshi Meijin
Edge of Thorns - Pt 3Part 3Edge of Thorns - Pt 35 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
You know, I haven't had Chinese in ages, and as tempting as that pretzel sounds, I'm really craving me some sesame chicken...
"I think I'm going to need something more filling than a coffee and pretzels," Nathan said, smiling at Alton. "Which way to Chinese?"
The other man laughed and lazily pointed out the window. "You'll want to turn right out of my shop, go straight through the next intersection, and turn right again at the corner of Midas Street and Banner Avenue. You should be able to spot the Golden Frog with no problem."
Nathan nodded, committing the directions to memory as he started towards the door. "Thanks, for letting me use the phone and the info. Uh, I guess see you later."
"Yes, see you later."
Nathan hesitated for a moment before leaving. The way he'd said that... he shook it off. Alton was a nice guy. He'd offered a complete stranger the use of his business phone, and even given him directions. Nathan knew he really needed to get past his discomfor
How To WriteAbstract: an analytical approach to plotting and writing fiction upwards of 1,000 wordsHow To Write10 years ago in Academic Essays More Like This
Acknowledgements: the potentially amazing Rachel (IfrozenspiritI) served as guinea pig to this; go and tell her to finish the product of that experiment, because you'll love it. Chris Widdison (tearstone) approached me indecently with the idea of writing a longer essay (which will still happen, and be a lot more purdy than this here thing), which would incorporate this essay in another form, amongst others. He doesn't need to read any of this, because he already knows it all.
Target audience: young, inexperienced writers, especially those that find themselves pulling off vignettes and other super-short forms with an ease, while chronically unable to produce anything with more than a handful of scenes and more than 1,000 words.
Part 1: The Premise takes a look at the basic idea behind a piece
Part 2: The Story fills in some of those blanks and gives u
Voices... For and About KidsVoices in Writing For and About KidsVoices... For and About Kids7 years ago in Editorial More Like This
Well, the title of this piece promises a guide to writing for and about kids. This is an all-encompassing phrase that, I hope, will grab anybody who wants to write for or about any characters between the ages of about nought and eighteen. So, is this the part where I reveal that this guide is actually more limited than that? No it is not! At least, I have done my very best to cater to all possible needs, with the following handy headings:
Issues and Obstacles
The Voice of the Child: Advice on Writing Dialogue
Childrens Literature and the Narrative Voice
Young Adult Fiction and the Teenage Voice
I admit it: this guide is not going to be short, and while it is not going to be excessively long either, it will try to answer every question I have been able to anticipate.
Issues and Obstacles
Picture this. You have s
Edge of Thorns - Pt 7Part 7Edge of Thorns - Pt 75 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
There's no way I'm going to make another idiot mistake like running off without paying my bill. Alton is creepy enough as is. I don't need to give him a reason to be angry with me. What he doesn't know won't hurt me...
Nathan shook his head, not releasing Avery's hand until the teen lowered his head in defeat, making it clear that -- as much as he may have wanted to -- he wasn't going to open the door. With a sigh, he pressed his ear back against the door. Nathan rubbed the back of his head, moving next to Avery to join him. He could at least make that compromise.
"So what are you calling yourself these days, Lu?" The question came from the other voice, which Nathan just knew he'd heard before. "Something clever, no doubt."
The shopkeeper chuckled. "I don't think so. The name is Alton. Alton Sterling, and you have my adoptive father to praise for that. I prefer not to choose my own name, unlike you." His voice suddenly dropped, becoming serious and dark. "Th
Edge of Thorns - Pt 2Part 2Edge of Thorns - Pt 25 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
As much as I hate to admit it, the more time I waste getting to the police station, the less of a chance I have to get my car back. I should have just called from the newspaper's office, but it's too late for that now. I guess I'll just have to suck it up and go with him.
Gives me more time to figure out why he makes me uneasy, at least.
"Well... I guess that makes sense," Nathan said, rubbing the back of his head. "Just around the corner, you say?"
Alton nodded, smiling eagerly. He shifted the books he was carrying to his other arm and motioned for Nathan to follow him, starting down the sidewalk. "Actually, it's one store down from the shop at the intersection up ahead, but that's close enough. Mind if I ask your name?"
"No, not at all!" he lied, jogging to catch up with him, cringing that he now had to tell him. "It's Nathan."
"Nathan..." Alton hummed and chuckled a bit, looking over his shoulder towards him. "I'm sorry for your unfortunate, uh, welcome to Virtu
The Writing ProcessWhat is the Writing Process?The Writing Process7 years ago in Academic Essays More Like This
Many of us learned that the writing process is made up of five parts: Pre-writing, Writing, Revision, Editing, and Publishing. Indeed, this process has been so ingrained, and the vocabulary and terms have become such a part of our education, that some students (and adults) feel as if writing is a formulaic, rigid thingnot unlike learning mathematicsthat they simply never excelled in. Fortunately, this simply isn't true. While the five basic steps of the writing process are effective, they can only be effective if the people using the process understand the purpose of each step.
Experience has shown that many students do not know the purpose of drafting beyond a certain, vague understanding that you're supposed to "correct" or "fix" something for each new draft. Its unfortunate, but its also been shown that students who are forced to Pre-Write in certain ways, even when they have been
Active and Passive VoiceActive and Passive Voice11 years ago in Academic Essays More Like This
Active voice occurs when the subject or agent in the sentence performs the action, often towards an object. For example, let's look at the following sentence written in active voice:
Katie spilled the milk.
In this sentence, Katie is the subject, and she performs the action (spilling) on the direct object (the milk.) The most obvious way to spot active voice is through the use of active verbs, which are simply verbs that express actions. In most cases, the sentence will take on the simple form of the tense it's in, whether past, present, or future.
In passive voice, the object being acted upon is emphasized over the agent. A passive version of the previous sentence would look like this:
The milk was spilled by Katie.
In this sentence, our object (the milk) appears before the action (was spilled) and the agent (Katie.) You will also notice that this sentence is in the progressive fo
Mary SueThere was once a girl named Mary Sue. She lived in the wonderful world of Fanfiction. Everywhere she went, no matter what the series, she was different, yet always the same. Sometimes she revisited these series, making every boy fall for her once again. The thing each of Mary Sue's forms had in common; they were all extremely cliche, they all were irresistible, they all were perfect in every way possible. But in the world of Fanfiction, Mary Sue often only visited people if she was told by the Mighty Authors, who would create another form for her.Mary Sue10 years ago in Humor More Like This
One day, Mary Sue was in her pretty pink mansion, sipping the finest tea in the most expensive possible cup. She was in her usual form. A girl in a blinding pink dress, with extremely sparkling, perfect, blonde hair, and beautiful blue eyes. She looked extremely beautiful, as all of her forms were meant to be. And from the Mighty Authors themselves came a letter from Above. She ripped it open excitedly, not getting a new job for quite awhile.
Wrath of the Grammar NaziIn favor of avoiding parallel structure debates (misplaced modifiers, ahh!) and a general crusade against passive voice, WordCount is offering a list of common "pet peeves" to satisfy the punctuation junkie in all of you.Wrath of the Grammar Nazi8 years ago in Editorial More Like This
Please understand that this list is by no means exhaustive, nor is it original, but it warrants saying from time to time. Nothing in here is meant to insult you, all rules can be broken, and there are always exceptions. One should also note that rules about comma usage and "the dash" differ from place to place and country to country, but this list falls back on Oxford's guide to style (because we all need a place to start).
1. Apostrophes are not there to make words look pretty. They do have an actual purpose (namely to indicate contractions or possession);
2. Semicolons connect two related thoughts while simultaneously separating two complete thoughts (or objects in a list);
3. "A lot" and "all right" are not words. They are
Punctuating Dialogue: A GuideStandard Punctuation: DialoguePunctuating Dialogue: A Guide8 years ago in Editorial More Like This
Sometimes we read dialogue so often, punctuated in so many different ways, that we either forget what we've learned (if that was anything memorable to begin with) or we rely on instinct to guide us. A common example of this can be seen in the opening dialogue of darksouldream's piece, Bobby:
No, replied Cindy `I think his sister Becky is staying with her, but she keeps muttering about parents out living children. The doctors been keeping her pretty sedated.
Most Americans will cringe at this. Why? Well, double quotation marks are the more acceptable usage (the "traditional convention") in American Standard English. However, in British Standard English, both the double quotation mark and single quotation mark are used. What's the rule? Stylis
How to Write About VampiresHow to Write About VampiresHow to Write About Vampires8 years ago in Writing More Like This
There are a lot of stories out there about Vampires. But not too many of them make their characters touchable or human. The characters are usually so out of touch with their humanity that the reader really cannot connect with the character. That happens to be one of the main sticking points.
How can I make my Vampire more human?
Well for the Vampire, dont make them too into themselves. Vampires cannot see themselves in a mirror, so how can they be vain? Believe me, if you ever read any of the classic horror novels and do you see any vampire with the ability to see themselves in the mirror? No you dont, so please dont make a vampire vain. Vampires still have their human vices when they turn, yet they can only either recall bits and pieces of their human life or in some cases, they can remember all of it.
What all characteristics do typical Vampires have?
All vampires dont run ar
Edge of Thorns - Pt 29Part 29Edge of Thorns - Pt 294 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
I should probably skip the obvious one for now, though I am curious...
"What are you going to say to Micah?"
The angel stopped humming, stopped walking, and turned to Nathan with a tilt of his head. "Why? Isn't it obvious?" He crossed his arms and closed his eyes. "I don't approve of their relationship, more specifically how Micah treats Alton. I intend to encourage Alton to leave him, and I want Micah to let him go." He opened his eyes, sighing as he smiled sadly. "I know neither of them will listen though."
Nathan shook his head. "I still don't understand," he said. "Aren't Michael and Lucifer supposed to be bitter enemies? I mean, I can understand why they fight; that much makes perfect sense. But how...?"
"... Did bitter enemies become intimate lovers?" Gabriel finished for him, then laughed. "Because they aren't just enemies, Nathan. They counter each other, but they also compliment each other." When all he got was another baffled stare, he explained.
Character Creation TipsCharacter Creation Tips8 years ago in Writing More Like This
Note: I wrote this after reading a similar article in The Writer magazine about a year ago. Hope it's helpful!
Not all characters are created equal. Here are some steps to make yours superior.
Figure out what your character wants, needs, desires. A closer relationship with God? A place to belong? Just to survive? Figure it out. You cant move on to number 2 until you have.
Now that you know what your character most desires, you should be able to figure out what he/she most fears. Doing the wrong thing, being alone, death? They are the polar opposites of your characters desires.
Go back in time to before your story begins and create a detailed backstory for your character. What happened in to past to create in him the desires and fears that he has now? Be specific. Write out individual scenes, or at leas
How to Read Science Fiction"The science-fictional world is not only one different in time or place from our own, but one whose chief interest is precisely the difference that such difference makes."How to Read Science Fiction7 years ago in Academic Essays More Like This
Carl Freedman, Critical Theory and Science Fiction
At its heart, the central tenet of science fiction is the question: "What if?" Despite or perhaps due to its wide-ranging themes, the genre provides the perfect platform for exploring that most fundamental of ideas: the human condition.
The main difference between science fiction and related genres (such as fantasy) is that sci-fi deals with the possible if not always the plausible. But the basics of storytelling remain the same, regardless of category: the author must establish the status quo, introduce the characters, and provide a conflict to be resolved.
The freedom of science fiction is in broadening the author's options, often with the intended goal of highlighting a current social concern (e.g., controvers
mary-sue testthis test was made for people who write fanfictions featuring their OC`s [original characters] wishing to avoid creating mary-sues. You can test as many characters as you want :] remember: no offensemary-sue test7 years ago in General Non-Fiction More Like This
UPDATE `11 30 07
If your character belongs to a race that has wings, unusual eye colour, etc. And most other characters in the story have those traits, don`t add extra points.
P.S - This test is intended for human female characters. If your character is male, go look for a gary-stu test.
1. Does your character have a long, rare or unusual name? [if she lives in japan, japanese name is not unusual] +1
2. Does your character have more than one first/second name for no reason? +1
3. [count all that apply]
She`s not a human? +1
Half a human? +1
[half]An Angel? +1
[half]A Vampire? +1
[half]A Werewolf? +1
4. She belongs to a royal family? +1
5. Does she have amnesia? +1
It heals as the story goes on? +1
___ out of 10
The Mary Sue Litmus TestHolepunch's Mary Sue Litmus Test:The Mary Sue Litmus Test5 years ago in Articles & Interviews More Like This
Ah, the Mary Sue. We can't cobble together a truly comprehensive description of what they are, exactly, but we can agree on one thing: an annoying, 'perfect' character who, through a general lack of flaws and character development, is excruciating to sit through and often makes us gnash our teeth, tear our hair, and reach for the back button. This nefarious creature can be measured and detected, so let's all grab our magnifying glasses and get classifying.
This is a subjective subject; a trait that drives one person right up the wall might fail to get any reaction from another. As you go through the list, count up the points. Each trait will register from 1-5 points, with 1 being a mild thing and 5 being a serious infraction. If a trait is not addressed at all in the story the character comes from, or is totally unknown, just ignore it. And don't worry about racking up pointsthe de-Suifier part of the test ought to restore some balance to